National League Schools Cup @ Leyton Orient
This year’s tournament was moved to November and the rain followed us. So, for the fourth year in succession, we had to endure another soggy Saturday. The weather didn't damper the team’s enthusiasm, some were so excited they arrived an hour before the start.
We were drawn in a group with Malmesbury, St. Saviour’s, Mission Grove and Larkswood. Confidence was high, as we believed we could get to the Semi- finals at least this year.
South Grove got off to a flying start against Malmesbury storming to a 4 goal lead thanks to the dominance of Marquez, who scored all 4 goals. After this empathetic victory, spirits were high when we went to our next game against St. Saviour’s. Davis got us off to a great start with an early goal but we failed to capitalise on this even though we had all of the play, this allowed St. Saviour's to grow in confidence and a very late cross into the box resulted in a goal. The whistle blew almost straight away and it ended in 1-1 draw.
The next game was against Larkswood, who had so far won all the games, we needed to beat them to stand any chance of making it through to the next round - only one team from each group would qualify. We set out straight from the start on the attack and created chance after chance but where unable to make any of them count. It started to become frustrating. Disaster struck, Larkswood broke down one of our attacks and scored. We tried to equalise but again they broke through and scored and in the last minute, they added another to make it 3-0. The team were very deflated after the game knowing that there was no way they could progress past the group phase. However, they had one game left and were determined to put in a performance.
The final game and Mission Grove were the opposition. It was a hard game with some very strong tackles to overcome. Sami scored the first goal - which was a great shot into the bottom corner. Minutes later, under another strong tackle, Sami got hit in the face and had to go off. The team battled onto the end and grinder a well-earned 1-0 win. We finished second in the group, not quite where we wanted to be but we can't fault the fantastic performance the team gave.
Hopefully, next time, the sun will shine on us as well as the pitch. Well done to all the boys involved.
– written by Mr Hayes